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Ken Classen
February 17th, 2003, 12:35 PM
The open water discussion has been a little boring lately so time to add some controversy. The above quote was affixed to a plaque my swimmers gave me when I retired as Head Coach of the University of Denver Masters Swim Team. Yes, they knew where I stood on the subject. Others share my view. In my day job as a stock broker I came across an article in the Wall Street Journal “Wimp or Triathlete, You Probably Like That New Wetsuit" by Kevin Helliker, published on September 24, 1999. In it were several memorable quotes on the subject. "How pathetic, says Betsy Brennan a Lake Michigan swimmer" "When I see people in wetsuits, I think: wimp." Another Chicagoan Ted Erikson, who did a double crossing of the English Channel without a wetsuit, said on the increasingly use of wetsuit by swimmers in Lake Michigan. "I ask them, 'Why don't you just get a boat? Boats have heaters.”:D

Paul Smith
February 17th, 2003, 05:40 PM
Ken, did you catch last Sunday's 60 minutes special on Lynn Cox (a former team mate of mine at UCSB!)? She recently swam one mile in 33 degree water off Antartica without a wetsuit, what a stud!

I'm going to remind mark Gill of that fact the next time I hear him whining down at ASU about the pool temp being 80!

cinc3100
February 18th, 2003, 12:36 AM
I saw that piece on Lynn Cox too. Only she and another human have survive water at 40 degrees or lower. You and I would die of hypertherma if we tried that. Her body protects her from such cold and I think they said it had to do with how the blood flowed to one of her legs. On record she is a little taller than me and we both weight near the same range.

Leonard Jansen
February 18th, 2003, 09:04 AM
As much as I am against the use of wetsuits, they do have a place in the sport. Namely, when a race is for charity, I think it helps get more people involved and allows more money to be raised. Furthermore, there are people who would not be able to participate without a wetsuit due to extremely low body fat, etc. It would be nice, however, if wetsuit swimmers had a time handicap to level the playing field for competition. They did that at last years' Rainbow Channel Challenge (NJ) and it seemed to work fairly well -- at least I didn't hear anyone complaining too loudly.

In an era when The Shrub and his cronies are trying to relax environmental regulations, I'd prefer to have as many people as possible with a vested interest in keeping our waterways clean.

Ken Classen
February 18th, 2003, 12:46 PM
Sorry, I didn’t catch that episode of 60-minutes. I was probably watching Tony Soprano force some poor soul to swim with the fishes without a wetsuit. I don’t have any problem with wetsuit divisions as long as the premier race is no wetsuits. In 1999, I did my fourth Gatorman (3-mile race) at the LaJolla Rough Water Swim. That year the water temperature was around 62 degrees. For a large and popular open water race that does not allow wetsuits that was a little on the cold side for many swimmers. What I noticed was several of the top placers did not necessarily carry any extra weight on there bodies. In fact they were rather lean. Asking them if they were cold? Most responded no, or only at the start of the race. Training is key. 1. Training swims in colder water helps the body adapt. 2. On a 3-mile or shorter event, the ability to swim right at your anaerobic threshold, and maintain that speed throughout the race. This is one of the reasons I don’t like wetsuits as it allows you race without having to do the all the training. By the way Wall Street Journal “Wimp or Triathlete, You Probably Like That New Wetsuit” was actually published on September 27, 1999. Ok, how bout some strong pro wetsuit responders, I know your out there!

Gerry Rodrigues
February 18th, 2003, 04:21 PM
Ken I'm surprised such a comment would come from a coach. I'd have to take a different point of view than you guys. I'm for wetsuits in as many events as possible providing there is also a non-wetsuit category. Many comments I have read over the years from those against wetsuits appeared to be from either the elitist or the purest

As a coach, one of my jobs is to encourage participation; wetsuits are simply another tool that allows me do do so. It's important for beginners to feel safe and comfortable; as they gather experience, I then encourage them to participate without a wetsuit.

I have a very extensive background in open water swimming which I enjoy sharing and teaching - wetsuit allow me to do so. They also allow me the opportunity to teach many triathletes how to swim better in the ocean during their first several sessions.

As admirable and accomplished as Lynn Cox and many marathon swimmers are, they represent a very small portion of participants in open water events.

I'd like to see the sport grow and wetsuits can add to such.

Paul Smith
February 18th, 2003, 05:23 PM
Gerry, so you finally found this website eh? Rumor has it that your protege (Randy) whipped up on you pretty good the last couple of races, guess that shows the dominance of the UCSB alums over you old UCLA farts!

PS: Laura says hi, hope we can get out and train with you again soon (wetsuit or not)!

Gerry Rodrigues
February 18th, 2003, 06:03 PM
yes Paul, Randy had an outstanding season, although it had nothing to do with his UCSB background (: Although we may be old, hopefully not washed up as of yet. He won almost every race he swam last summer, very impressive. Hopefully I'll be more competition for him this summer.

Look forward to seeing you and Laura soon again

Randy Eickhoff
February 18th, 2003, 07:09 PM
In Ocean Racing the phrase "better lucky than good" often rings true. The timing of the surf and where you happen to be can, and often times does, make the difference in the finish. I can think of at least a couple races this last season that I won due to good fortune and good surf. Yes, I do pray to the surf gods year round.

As far as wearing wetsuits in a race goes, I have to side with Gerry. Participation should be the key driver for the open water races. Restricting entry into a sport by not taking advantage of available technologies (yes, wetsuits are a technological breakthrough) is asking for the sport to become archaic. I suppose the true die-hard old-timers could require everyone to wear the old swimming costumes....I mean, if were gonna do it...let's do it right!

For elite competitors, at the end of the day, if everyone wears them, or doesn't, the results will end up virtually the same. Change comes to every sport...embrace it.

Paul Smith
February 20th, 2003, 09:59 AM
Randy, looks like both you and Gerry finally figured out how to get on the site (or did UCLA just get internet service)! By the way, just becuase Gerry can inflict his wrath on you from the deck doesn't mean you have to be nice and agree with him!

Go Gauchos, Bruins suck!

u352
February 28th, 2003, 08:37 AM
As a new person to the sport of long distance swimming I have to say that my decision to use a wet suit to cross the bay this summer is strictly selfish. I agree that the use of a wet suit is a crutch for me and I view it as a way of helping me get across the bay but that is my goal. I do not want to win the race so that being said I agree that we should have two race categories, with and without.

Matt S
March 18th, 2003, 08:06 PM
Hey, if we want to be really pure purists here, I have a suggestion. I say any swim suit at all is an illegitimate departure from the original Olympic Ideal. The Greeks were rough, tough and in the buff when they competed, so let's have an au natural division for open water events!

Besides, if memory serves, other discussion threads have batted around ideas for getting more exposure for swimming. This will definitely generate some press coverage. Think about how many reporters showed up to cover a few flabby peace activists pealing for a protest. Imagine the interest in covering a few buff distance swimmers practicing their sport...

How's that for controversial, oh Tall One.

Matt

cinc3100
March 18th, 2003, 11:21 PM
The greeks didn't swim in the anicent olympics but they were in the nude in the track events and the wresting events. They did swim in the ocean since they were or are a seafaring people. As if they swam naked all the time I'm uncertain of that. The Japanese were the first to have swimming contests back around the 2nd century before the common era. Whether the Japanese swam naked in races I'm uncertain of that too.

Leonard Jansen
March 19th, 2003, 01:40 PM
It was not unknown for swimming races in the 1800's to be done in the raw. Matthew Webb, first person across the Channel, did some races in the buff, although not the Channel swim which was done in red flannel trunks that weighted about 20 pounds (!!!)when wet.

Having been on some of the nude beaches in Europe, let's just say that it IS possible to have too much (far too much, sometimes) of a good thing.

I won't even mention the possibility of near-sighted predators

Ken Classen
March 19th, 2003, 07:36 PM
Other then the embarrassing shrinkage problem I'm all for the no suit division. Who's sponsoring the race?

Open water swimmers who don't like wetsuits may be purist but elitist were not. All you really need to enjoy open water swimming is a pair of goggles. Wetsuits turn open water swimming into another equipment sport. Open up this months issue of Triathlete "the swimming issue" and you'll find an article on wetsuits, average price $400.

Plus you don't have to have to have the perfect low body fat type displayed on the covers of the various fitness magazines to be a successful open water swimmer. This is a sport that turns regular Ice Cream into a training food.

NaClH2O
December 20th, 2007, 06:18 PM
I am with you...a purist...minimalist. The only obstacle is that I set my min H2O temp at 58F. While growing up, I swam in S.F. Bay in colder temps, but I'm older now and don't like shivering when I get out of the water. I have tons of memories of wearing my wetsuit surfing at Ocean Beach in the dead of winter and wouldn't recommend surfing without one - surfing is an entirely different sport. For winter swims, my solution is to find warmer water (shallower areas) or now that I'm on the "right" coast, wait until the CB warms a bit or find a pool- preferably long course.

I agree with Ken on everything he said above and particularly about wetsuits being a contributor to turning our sport into another equipment sport. I've got a list of other drawbacks to using wetsuits:
1. They chafe
2. They smell up your car
3. They never really dry out in winter so they permenantly smell bad
4. In summer they dry out, smell and begin to crack
5. Sea nettles get in and are hard to rinse out
6. They add time to your workout window- gotta put it on and take it off
7. Shark Bait!!!! You look like food to them

stillwater
December 20th, 2007, 07:07 PM
Unseriously,

How many of you anit-wetsuit folks wear a cap while swimming? Or, take a hot shower after the event. Or, wear your fastskins? I don't think that stuff happened in the distant and noble past.

Technology has its place in sports.

Perhaps some purests would be dismayed that I had eye surgery to correct my vision.

So, lets divide our group, those who use technologly, those who don't.

I figure that I'm uncomfortable enough while swimming. Why not make it as pleasant as I can.

Surfergirl
December 20th, 2007, 07:16 PM
Unseriously,

How many of you anit-wetsuit folks wear a cap while swimming? Or, take a hot shower after the event. Or, wear your fastskins? I don't think that stuff happened in the distant and noble past.

Technology has its place in sports.

Perhaps some purests would be dismayed that I had eye surgery to correct my vision.

So, lets divide our group, those who use technologly, those who don't.

I figure that I'm uncomfortable enough while swimming. Why not make it as pleasant as I can.

it's not the warmth that makes a difference, it's the added buoyancy. if anything i would think the colder the water, the faster i swim because i am afraid of getting hypothermia

stillwater
December 20th, 2007, 07:27 PM
For me a wetsuit is all about warmth.

I have quit races due to cold water. I detest cold water. It is a curse upon humanity. The evening before a race my biggest fear is not the competition, distance, wind chop, or tides, it's water temp.

This is the cross I bear.

Ripple
December 20th, 2007, 08:36 PM
If there were a type of wetsuit that offered warmth without added bouyancy, I wouldn't have a problem with other people wearing them. (I seem to be part polar bear, myself.) I know the added bouyancy is an unfair advantage, because a fellow that I was faster than in the pool in club training sessions suddenly became a lot faster than me in Thursday night lake swims when he put on his wetsuit.

Surfergirl
December 20th, 2007, 08:52 PM
I guess the longer the race, the more warmth becomes a factor. But buoyancy is ALWAYS an advantage no matter how long the race.

lapswimmr
December 20th, 2007, 08:53 PM
I dont have a problem with swimmers using wetsuits . Only in some classic events where the rules have been made like the English Channel swim should they not be allowed "for record" unless different classes are made to distingush the classic swim vs the suit swim. Without wetsuits many tri events would not even have a swim. the swim is for most people the scariest part of the event. wetsuits aid bouyence and up confidence.

Surfergirl
December 20th, 2007, 08:56 PM
the swim is for most people the scariest part of the event. wetsuits aid bouyence and up confidence.

don't you think that is bad? i feel very strongly that if you need a wetsuit/surfboard/any other type of equipment in order to feel safe or comfortable in the ocean, you should not be swimming in the ocean!!!

lapswimmr
December 20th, 2007, 09:06 PM
No I dont. There not swimming by themselves in a tri race but with a large group with life guards ,kayakers ect. Certain gear that you mention if your swimming by your self can get gone and I agree with you that a swimmer who swims alone should be able to deal with loosing swim "helpers" and making it back in. A wetsuit however is pretty hard to loose.

Surfergirl
December 20th, 2007, 09:13 PM
may i add...

real swimmers aren't afraid of a little runoff :lmao:

stillwater
December 20th, 2007, 10:19 PM
I am very worried about runoff. Unless the surf is very very good, I stay out for 72 hours after rain.

Swimming is out of the question.

FindingMyInnerFish
December 21st, 2007, 12:21 AM
I've done some open water miles, including an ocean swim w/ the water temp in the 60s--in that one, the race literature even recommended wetsuits--and a 5.25 miler all without a wetsuit.

It's not that I'm especially courageous. Darn things are too expensive! But then I think it's been good that way b/c I haven't come to depend on wetsuits. However, I have no particular issue w/ others wearing them--I suppose if they do give a speed advantage, it would be more fair to offer a wetsuit and non-wetsuit division... and now, based on your comments, the no-suit division... but I'm not crazy about that last. C'mon guys, don'tcha know sunscreen gets expensive if you have to cover more of yourself? :violin:

I will say that for the 5+ mile race, my cousin offered to lend me his wetsuit, but I said no I'd be fine. He was worried so he sent the wetsuit; however, it didn't reach me in time b/c I'd already left for the race. Fortunately, I never felt the need for it the whole time. The air temp was very warm and the water too, so I think I would have been too hot in a wetsuit, although others wore them. But I never once felt cold. Seasick, yes. ;) But not cold.

I'm now thinking though that making it through 5 miles w/out a wetsuit enhances the sense of accomplishment I already felt w/ having done the swim (I don't take it way from wetsuit wearers since that's a heckuva long time to swim for anyone.)

So I'm either a real swimmer or a broke swimmer, ha!

NaClH2O
December 21st, 2007, 08:04 AM
Clearing the air just a bit--To each his/her own regarding desire or motivation to wear a wetsuit. Personally, I don't care who does or doesn't wear them during an event, or even how I, as a "purist" would stack up against those who gain from the bouyancy. If what it takes to get increased participation in open water events means wetsuits for those who desire, then so be it. I simply don't like them if I can avoid wearing one.

I do draw the line on technology entering the sport if it means swimmers will eventually be wearing webbed toed foot skins, webbed finger mits, and shark skinned caps that streamline the body form...hey there is an idea...a wet suit that makes you shaped like a fish...Shark food for sure...

Rob Copeland
December 21st, 2007, 08:33 AM
i feel very strongly that if you need a wetsuit/surfboard/any other type of equipment in order to feel safe or comfortable in the ocean, you should not be swimming in the ocean!!!Personally, I believe that anything that helps get people swimming is a good thing. If it takes a wetsuit to get someone to try open water swimming, then put on the wetsuit and come on in.

I prefer to go without, as long as the water temp is above 50F, but if it wasn’t for wetsuits I wouldn’t have had any training partners when I went for cold water training swims.

ThomasK
December 22nd, 2007, 09:13 AM
I agree that wetsuits are fine for non-masters for getting out and trying open water events.....
It really is a non-issue for me as the national federation here in Italy doesn't sanction courses where the water is less than 60°F (16°C) and wetsuits aren't allowed in any case.
- Thomas

Ron Lockman
December 22nd, 2007, 02:30 PM
For me,..its about HAVING FUN!!! I personally feel that if one loves to swim in the Ocean, I am 100% for them , regardless if they want to swim in a tuxedo or a bananna sling or a thong or a barrell or a birthday suit or a wetsuit.

An intresting side note,...my wife does not swim,..but loves to watch . She has commented the the body types of swimmers covers the whole spectrum,..and she likes it that swimmers are not embarressed about their bodies not being perfect.

spudfin
December 22nd, 2007, 04:58 PM
Greetings
Just my two cents worth. I really like swimming with a wetsuit. Where I live the water is always cold. Without a wetsuit I would freeze my caboose off. With one on I can swim further faster longer than without one. At the end of the day I had a great workout and more fun than you can imagine with a wetsuit on anyway. Just don't get the debate over this issue. Do you scoffers use a cell phone? Shame on you! You should use rotary dial phones if you are really true to yourselves. Oh and don't bother filling that antibiotic scrip next time you get an infection........
Regards
Spudfin

spudfin
December 22nd, 2007, 05:00 PM
Oh and I almost forgot. I like triathletes and don't mind sharing a lane with them any old day even though it is not a sport I participate in. The more the merrier!
Regards
Spudfin

scwids
December 22nd, 2007, 05:10 PM
Glad to see no one has any strong opinions about this one! Hah! :doh: I am a huge cold wimp, and wetsuits allow me to swim longer and colder races than I would otherwise. However, I totally agree that wetsuits and non-wetsuits should not be in the same category - they buoyancy factor is a definite advantage. (Of course, I'm only competing against myself when I'm out there near the back of the pack!)

david.margrave
December 22nd, 2007, 08:19 PM
I have a wetsuit and I use it for OW events here in Washington state even when the water temp is low 70s. I'm not in to freezing, and I like the safety factor of the flotation. You can call me anything you want.

Ripple
December 22nd, 2007, 09:03 PM
A few years ago I saw a television documentry segment about some guy who was planning to swim all the rivers in a given geographical area - a country, a state, can't remember the details. It seemed really impressive until they actually showed him "swimming"... in a big orange PFD.
A cap and goggles and Fastskin-type racing suit is not quite the same as a device that makes a person more buoyant.

NaClH2O
December 23rd, 2007, 07:22 AM
Ah yes..the debate is getting juicey!!! Considering the locations of some of the swimmers and skill levels, it seems there is legitimate rationale for those who desire/need to wear a wetsuit just to be able to get into the open water.

For those of us who prefer to swim "naked" I guess we should be happy we have a place to swim in the open water where the temps don't immediately drive a hypothermia situation.

Regarding the swimmer with the orange PFD who may have wanted to get rich off writing a book about swimming the rivers...my question would be: who would be interested in reading it? Certainly not a "real swimmer."

stillwater
December 23rd, 2007, 02:18 PM
My brother and I have had this wetsuit vs. purist debate for over a decade. I am a "techie cheater" and he is a silly chilly misguided he-man who cheats by wearing a lid over his bean.

I haven't ever worn a tri-suit (I prefer to spend my limited funds on surfing wetsuits), yet I understand that they do make you faster. My suit totaly messes with my stroke, rhythm, breathing, kick, and shoulder flexability. If the water is below 70, I'll suffer the consequences. Maybe if I bought one of those new fangled things I might be able to beat him. Hmmmmm.

Or better yet, maybe he'll get me one for Christmas.

Ken Classen
December 23rd, 2007, 06:20 PM
Wow, I'm seeing all this USMS discussion board emails showing up in my inbox and I'm asking myself what's up? Suddenly a four year old thread I started comes back to life. FYI – aging has not mellowed my opinion – LOL. :thhbbb:

In my youth I was treated to a story about my Great Great Grandfather, a German homesteader in the Ukraine. Although of German descent and a pacifist he was conscripted into the Russian Army. During his time in the army he was known to strip down and take a swim or bath in whatever body of water that presented itself, even in the dead of the Russian winter. Apparently some of his genome has survived in me. Like many people when I get into cold water, I'll shout “OMG it's cold!” But I find it very energizing and have learned how to adapt. Being landlocked at the moment, I'm envious of Surfergirl, a brisk mile in the LaJolla cove without a wet suit, how invigorating! Top it off with a shower and a espresso shot, :coffee: I can't think of a better natural high! Frigid water and exercise equals robust production of endorphins and maybe that's the reason for purism. It is very cool to watch a big wave surfer towed into a wave by a Jet Ski. But it's so much more special when those old school dudes paddle into the big surf with no mechanical help. Same can be said of free climbers just them, the rock and a bag of chalk.

There is no denying the wet suit has greatly expanded the number of people who swim in open water environments. Would've the sport of Triathlon expanded to it's present level of commercial success with out it? Not a chance. However the wetsuit is a different animal then other technology that has advanced the world of swimming and triathlon. It's the difference between assistance and benefit! Bicycle racing has benefited from the weight saving materials like carbon fiber frames, aerodynamic wheels and handlebars. Swimming has benefited from Fastskin type technology which makes a swimmer more hydrodynamic. What's the difference between a Fastskin (benefit) and a wetsuit (assistance)? An example; the famous Tour De France stage, the climb up Mout Ventoux. The latest computer designed carbon fiber Trek racing bicycle is a benefit to the cyclist climbing that hill, having a tow rope up the mountain is assistance. The swimming wetsuit equates to a tow rope or in this case water wings for adults.

One of the paramount skills of swimming is body position. The ability to “swim downhill” or having the correct body position is the difference between a confidant (not necessarily fast) swimmer and the unqualified swimmer. The wetsuit totally negates the need to learn this skill as it's buoyancy does more then just assist, it forces the swimmer into the correct position.

Now all that being said and couple of cliches later: the genie is out the bottle, the clock can't be turned back. All I ask of wetsuit wearers, is to honestly admit the water wing like assistance they provide. On that note, Merry Christmas to all swimmers!

P.S. Oh yea, I almost forgot, one of the most excellent benefits of the wetsuit, really super safe sex. ;)

Ripple
December 23rd, 2007, 06:26 PM
Ah yes..the debate is getting juicey!!! Considering the locations of some of the swimmers and skill levels, it seems there is legitimate rationale for those who desire/need to wear a wetsuit just to be able to get into the open water.

For those of us who prefer to swim "naked" I guess we should be happy we have a place to swim in the open water where the temps don't immediately drive a hypothermia situation....

Well, it certainly isn't very warm where I live, and I'm always trying to find a way to get in the water before the end of June. Wetsuits don't come in any sizes that would fit my odd dimensions, and I'm not sure I want to spend so much money on something that I'd only use 3 or 4 times a season anyway. Also, after doing a Swimtrek tour where wetsuits were offered to anyone who needed one, I discovered that there's a bit of a learning curve to swimming in a full one - some of the people on the tour tried them and found them just too hard to get used to.
I've been experimenting with non-buoyant materials in an effort to get some earlier practice in. In 2005 I made a high-necked zipper back suit (like a water polo suit) out of Polartec Aquashell. Not entirely successful. It was suffocatingly tight going on dry, then bagged out about 2 sizes bigger when fully saturated. (Boy, did it get saturated!) Still, it did keep some warmth in, except for that icy stream pouring in through the zipper. (Note to self: remember to install a zipper shield next time :doh: ) This fall I made a "rash" shirt out of Chloroblock lined with a teflon coated lycra stuff called Darlexx. Again it bagged out a bit in the water, but that could have been the lack of a suitable pattern. With the teflon coating facing out, it may even have possiblities as a race suit. (Not that someone my size should ever go out in public apparently packaged in shiny white cling wrap! :shakeshead:) I may try again with the Aquashell, or get some very thin (1mm) neoprene and risk blowing the motor on my least favorite machine doing another zipperback suit.
I'm sure that wetsuit manufacturers, with their infinitely greater access to high-tech materials, could come up with a non-buoyant "warmsuit" if they really wanted to.

Kurt Dickson
December 27th, 2007, 06:18 PM
don't you think that is bad? i feel very strongly that if you need a wetsuit/surfboard/any other type of equipment in order to feel safe or comfortable in the ocean, you should not be swimming in the ocean!!!

I tend to agree with this sentiment a little. I participated in the inaugural (and last) Ironman Utah (2002) where someone drowned. The water was perfectly swimmable (is that a word) if they could attach the buouys so they were not blowing away. Ever since then, triathlon directors are always threatening to cancel the swim because of unsafe waters which sucks for me as I can't bike or run. Encouraging participation with wetsuits is great but ruining my vacation and months of training because you can't swim without waterwings is another thing.

The argument is simple: Real swimmers do wear wetsuits when they want to go fast. When they just want to be manly:weightlifter:, they don't (http://www.swimaroundtherock.com/results.html).

P.S. Give it up for resurrected threads from 4 years ago!

stillwater
December 27th, 2007, 06:55 PM
Now, now now. All drownings are preventable. Abstinance is a 100% effective method to stop drownings. Medical emergencies create a situation where rescues are improbable.

Where were the lifeguards?




I did chuckle at the waterwings analogy. You must know my brother.

Kurt Dickson
December 27th, 2007, 08:11 PM
Well, all the kayakers were tipped over from the wind and swells and were...well, too busy trying to save themselves.

stillwater
December 27th, 2007, 09:28 PM
Stopping a meet due to adverse conditions is a very difficult decison, but sometimes necessary. If there isn't adequate safety personel to monitor the contestants, then as a meet director you have failed.

A Drowning is unaceptable. Where were the lifeguards?

Kurt Dickson
December 28th, 2007, 05:00 PM
I certainly understand race directors decisions (I am an ER doctor and get the fact we do things based on the lowest common denominator--i.e. ordering way too many tests assuming the person is too dumb to followup with his own doctor or canceling swims based on the fact that the worst swimmer out there has no idea that he sucks and will do anything so he can tell his friends he is an ironman).

Drownings are bad but I wouldn't call them "unacceptable." I am not sure when life got where it had to be perfectly safe and sterile (don't get me started on malpractice lawyers). Bad things happen and it does not necessarily have to be somebody's fault. If I choose to race in a lake that happens to be contaminated with Naegleria and I die of meningitis, the race director is not necessarily responsible. Personal responsibility has disappeared from the current fault-finding modern society. Sorry for the rant but this subject makes me apoplexic.

stillwater
December 28th, 2007, 05:46 PM
Doctor,

Please don't have a CVA on my account.

If conditions were such that,

"all the kayakers were tipped over from the wind and swells and were...well, too busy trying to save themselves. "

then the meet organizers and safety crew were seriously lacking. This event should have been cancled. Perhaps profit or egos of the event organizers took precedent over thier responsibility to the contestants. Maybe safety crews are not needed, people just need to man up.

Wait, I know, waterwings are the solution.

Kurt Dickson
December 28th, 2007, 08:12 PM
I know Ironman events have really changed their safety policy since that episode. I still submit someone can slip under even with the closest of safety monitoring. I just hope if I bump my head against another competitor and slip to the depths of the toxic waste dump known as Tempe Town Lake, my wife takes the life insurance money and moves to the Virgin Islands with a 19 year old cabana boy named Pedro (rather than calling Goldberg and Osborn law firm and extracting cash out of a poor race director).

Alas, the days of "manning up" are gone.

Surfergirl
December 28th, 2007, 08:39 PM
I think lifeguards and kayaks are supposed to be there for EMERGENCIES, not for stupidity. I personally would never have gone out in those conditions because I know i am not experienced enough with those conditions to be able to handle them. if i went out in such conditions i certainly wouldn't EXPECT a lifeguard to save my life.

stillwater
December 28th, 2007, 09:57 PM
Darn, I'm not 19 and my name isn't even close to Pedro.

markm
December 29th, 2007, 08:43 AM
i'm 52 yrs old. this summer i trained in lake michigan for an alcatraz swim. i wore a wetsuit and swam 3-4 miles a shot in a wetsuit in 59 degree waters in late may early june. i wore the wetsuit for warmth (along with the thermal cap). hell i was damn proud of myself and i sure in hell wasn't floating for 4 miles in those choppy waters, at least my arms and body didn't feel like i was floating! i'm a simple guy, and the wetsuit gizmo, is a little out of my sphere, but it kept me from turning blue and purple in lake michigan and prevented sudden cardiac arrest! those were great lake michigan swims. that's what it is all about for me.

Kurt Dickson
December 29th, 2007, 10:22 AM
I'm sure you'll do stillwater. However, we would need to come up with something catchier than stillwater--like "sting."

Treebox
January 3rd, 2008, 10:50 AM
Dr. Kurt- Great comments, but hey, if it wasn't for lawyers there would be a longer line at the pearly gates!

Wet suit or not- whatever it takes to get you out there. I've done the Columbia River Race in 58 degree water without one (only 3 out of a field of 75) and was accused of not taking the race seriously! I finally wore one in the Chesapeake Bay 4.4 race this summer and hated it. The added bouyancy throws off my stroke. I caved in to peer pressure. I think the race director (who otherwise does a fantastic job) ought to foster more non-wetsuit categories.

Tree

chaos
January 3rd, 2008, 11:31 AM
Dr. Kurt- Great comments, but hey, if it wasn't for lawyers there would be a longer line at the pearly gates!

Wet suit or not- whatever it takes to get you out there. I've done the Columbia River Race in 58 degree water without one (only 3 out of a field of 75) and was accused of not taking the race seriously! I finally wore one in the Chesapeake Bay 4.4 race this summer and hated it. The added bouyancy throws off my stroke. I caved in to peer pressure. I think the race director (who otherwise does a fantastic job) ought to foster more non-wetsuit categories.

Tree

i couldn't agree more with the last sentence. both times i swam the bay, h20 temps were mid 70's.....clearly not a safety issue for 95% of the field.

stillwater
January 3rd, 2008, 12:26 PM
"I think the race director (who otherwise does a fantastic job) ought to foster more non-wetsuit categories."

I think one non-wetsuit category would suffice. But keep it pure, no caps, goggles, paddlers, or lifeguards. Everyone should own up to thier own limitations.

The wetsuit divisions should be divided into those served cocktails during the race, those wishing to refrain till after the event, and those accompanied by thier lawyers trying to exploit a tragedy for a cheap buck.

Blackbeard's Peg
January 4th, 2008, 08:57 AM
I think one non-wetsuit category would suffice. But keep it pure, no caps, goggles, paddlers, or lifeguards. Everyone should own up to thier own limitations.

I wouldn't call any of these limitations. Especially when swimming a body of water like the Chesapeake Bay where water is not chrystal-clear and is subject to boat traffic or marine life, these measures are there to help minimize the risk of a disaster.

a bright-colored cap identifies where you are;
goggles help you make sure you stay on course, especially if there aren't two large lane lines like there are for the bay swim;
the paddlers/lifeguards are there to not only make sure you can make it across, but also are easily identified by other boaters and prevent you from getting run over by boat traffic.

FindingMyInnerFish
January 4th, 2008, 10:25 AM
I've done the Columbia River Race in 58 degree water without one (only 3 out of a field of 75) and was accused of not taking the race seriously! Tree

Say what? I thought the wetsuit was considered less "purist"!

I have no wetsuit, but not for "purist" reasons... just b/c of $$. I might eventually try one to see how I like it, but the o.w. swims I've done have all been in water temps of 65 and above, and even when the temp was in the 60s the air temp was warm enough that I didn't feel all that cold.

In my longest o.w. swim, the first place swimmer, and several in the top ten weren't wearing wetsuits. Of course, it was a very warm day and warm water (70s), so could be that wetsuits in those conditions might hinder more than help. I know that at no time during that swim was I ever cold (seasick, yes, but not cold, ha!), and had I worn a wetsuit, I think I would have been too warm.

fatboy
January 4th, 2008, 01:38 PM
[QUOTE=FindingMyInnerFish;118446]Say what? I thought the wetsuit was considered less "purist"!

[QUOTE]
I think that the rational for the "not taking it seriously" remark is that
it is generally believed that most people are faster with a wetsuit. So if most of the field is wearing a wetsuit and you are not, you are not you are giving them an edge and therefore not going all out to win.

Steve Ruiter
January 10th, 2008, 02:47 PM
I'd say its the case that virtually all swimmers are significantly faster with a wetsuit than without one.

Unfortunately, the speed effect seems to be that wetsuits aid swimmers who are slower and/or have technique flaws more than they aid swimmers who are faster and/or have better technique. This tends to revert all towards the average, which is not a desired effect in competition.

Essentially, wetsuits create another division, so in races, results ought to differentiate. Most OW swim races do this, but triathlons do not. I suppose the best you could hope for in tris is that wetsuits should be disallowed above a certain temperature, say 70F, but that is not likely to happen.

As for wearing them at all, I much prefer to not wear a wetsuit. My technique is fine and I prefer the feeling of the water, but when its cold, they get me in the water for training swims.

Kurt Dickson
January 10th, 2008, 06:21 PM
"I suppose the best you could hope for in tris is that wetsuits should be disallowed above a certain temperature, say 70F, but that is not likely to happen."

Actually, triathlons forbid wetsuits above 78 degrees (you can wear but are not eligible for prizes). I shed mine above 70 degrees as the overheating factor trumps the buoyancy factor for me.

HiPockets
February 2nd, 2008, 08:10 AM
I think wetsuits should be welcomed in all OW events, especially in tidal waters, and their use noted or differentiated in scoring. I was in the Ches Bay swim that was stopped in the early '90s and can attest to dangerous and chaotic situation that day (the kayakers and boaters did a fantastic job in emergency conditions). I have low body fat and wore a shortie suit - more for warmth than buoyancy. I had previously finished the race twice but was struggling the get across the main channel where the current and chop were worst. I am glad that I was not discouraged or prohibited from wearing the suit that day. I have competed in multiple sports for many years and I accept that there will be competitive advantages across the sport whether its financial freedom to train more hours or proximity to water or a genetic VO2 max capacity (it is amusing to listen to a triathlete parse the advantages of a wetsuit while straddling a three thousand dollar bike). I agree with the earlier posters who invite cheerful compromise and inclusiveness to the betterment of the event and the swim community.

orca1946
February 2nd, 2008, 01:39 PM
I did not get this old being stupid, if it's that cold - wear one & enjoy what we do!

scwids
February 2nd, 2008, 02:20 PM
I did not get this old being stupid, if it's that cold - wear one & enjoy what we do!

Yay! Another pragmatist! :applaud:

Ken Classen
February 2nd, 2008, 02:43 PM
Another Chicagoan Ted Erikson, who did a double crossing of the English Channel without a wetsuit, said on the increasingly use of wetsuit by swimmers in Lake Michigan. "I ask them, 'Why don't you just get a boat? Boats have heaters.”:D


I did not get this old being stupid, if it's that cold - wear one & enjoy what we do!

Why stop with a wetsuit, if one gets a boat as Ted Erikson suggests, your next stop will be membership with Mensa International. :soapbox:

The real question is who do you respect more Barry Bonds or Henry Aaron?

Kurt Dickson
February 2nd, 2008, 09:36 PM
I race with a wetsuit in triathlons. There is no argument that they are faster. I don't have any problem letting people use wet suits for open water races; it just makes you irrelevant in the final standings. If it makes you feel good winning the wetsuit division, then knock yourself out. It's like when I race as a clydesdale in triathlons--nobody cares that I got first out of a total of two fat people.:2cents:

stillwater
February 3rd, 2008, 01:43 PM
Irrelevant? Hmmmm.

Anybody know if wetsuits will be allowed at the Olympics?

jgale
February 3rd, 2008, 04:04 PM
We have a few local swimmers who have the same attitudes about wetsuits. I am not sure why some have such issues with wetsuits. Live and let live is my motto.

If its cold (frequently the case off the coast of Maine), I will wear my suit and not think twice about it. If others choose not to, it is their business. I don't think it makes me less of a swimmer to wear a wetsuit.

Kurt Dickson
February 3rd, 2008, 08:35 PM
Irrelevant? Hmmmm.

Anybody know if wetsuits will be allowed at the Olympics?

I'm not sure what we are arguing about anymore. This thread is so old anyway.

By irrelevant, I am referring to the results not the person. Right now, I don't believe any USMS or USS sanctioned swims allow a wetsuit to be considered for awards. So in most competitions I've seen, the fastest swimmers swim without one, making the results of the wetsuit division rather meaningless (if one is determined to derive some sort of self-worth out of the result and not simply for the sake of just finishing/competing--in which there is worth to the individual). By this I'm not suggesting that people that wear wetsuits are worthless (I am often seen costumed with neoprene in the spirit of competition). Swim with or without...it is all good.

I believe there is no way wetsuits are allowed at the Olympics (unless you are talking about triathlon).

So in the spirit of peace, love, and understanding (and Rodney King)--let's let this thread die again.:dedhorse::drown::snore:

stillwater
February 4th, 2008, 12:40 AM
Holy moley Kurt I'm not arguing, I am bantering.

"By irrelevant, I am referring to the results not the person. Right now, I don't believe any USMS or USS sanctioned swims allow a wetsuit to be considered for awards. So in most competitions I've seen, the fastest swimmers swim without one, making the results of the wetsuit division rather meaningless"

Wrong.

"I believe there is no way wetsuits are allowed at the Olympics (unless you are talking about triathlon)."

I don't know. Perhaps someone with more knowledge than you or I will fill our gap.

I prefer to not wear a wetsuit. If the water is below 65 (18.3 to my Euro friends) I wear the rubber.

Very very few people can swim in water in the mid 50s.

geochuck
February 4th, 2008, 03:52 PM
No wet suits here. Ted Erickson's web site has a few good swimming videos. This video comprises 2 swims, the English Channel and The Lake St Jean swim from Peribonka to Roberval Quebec. http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=-8871952898972947487&q=swim+videos+1954&total=4&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=2

Rob Copeland
February 4th, 2008, 04:08 PM
Wetsuits are NOT allowed in Olympic open water competition.

Wetsuits MAY be allowed at the discretion of the meet director in USMS sanctioned open water events. Awards MAY be given to wetsuited swimmers, however if awards are given to wetsuit competitors they shall be awarded separately from those for non-wetsuit competitors. Any published results or records must clearly indicate which swimmers wore wetsuits.

geochuck
February 4th, 2008, 09:57 PM
Ted Erickson no wet suit here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-7ZUzrh7JI

Here is Ted at 78 years swimming 100 fly http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0g4EiZuF120

chaos
February 8th, 2008, 08:35 PM
I did not get this old being stupid, if it's that cold - wear one & enjoy what we do!

if open water swimming were easy, smart people would do it too.

Ron Lockman
February 8th, 2008, 09:29 PM
"Very very few people can swim in water in the mid 50s."


I`m 56 years old and I swim in water,....:groovy:


Seriously,..I have swam in 53 degree water for a half hour and enjoyed it,...yes, it stung at first, but soon, it was "pleasant",...ya gotta keep moving. In June, I`ll be swimming Alcatraz sans wetsuit.:fish2:

geochuck
February 8th, 2008, 09:52 PM
53 degrees for half an hour did you really enjoy it.

38 degrees for a few hours now that was frosty, I did that and did not enjoy it.

Ron Lockman
February 8th, 2008, 10:49 PM
George

I enjoyed it,..I especially enjoyed getting out and taking a hot shower and then having a shot of scotch. The Ocean scares me. Sometimes it embraces me like a lover and other times it acts like it doesn`t know me. The smell of the water, its "abrasive" character, the sound of the waves and wind, combined with the color of the sky and the bite of the air makes for an otherworldy experience.....being alone with your thoughts is probably the scariest part of it all. Swimming,...the closest thing to flying.


%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% ><>

geochuck
February 8th, 2008, 11:33 PM
I never trained in water under 60 degrees unless I had to. I raced in any temperature but could never say I enjoyed cold water. I was known as a cold water swimmer but did not like it.

Lake Ontario could be 70 degrees when I went to train by the time I got there it would be 60 and I would go in then an hour later it would be 55. Off shore breeze meant cold water.

When it was cold I would drive an hour or two to find warm water. Sometimes swimming in some pretty polluted water eg the Credit River just west of Toronto.

stillwater
February 9th, 2008, 12:44 AM
The ocean has no conscience.

Herman Kuhn
February 9th, 2008, 02:30 AM
I think it's needed just for health considerations.

geog
April 4th, 2012, 09:40 PM
bump